Kaka in Real squad, Messi set to rest

Reuters April 23, 2010

MADRID: Brazilian player Kaka was included in the Real Madrid squad and Messi is likely to sit this one out.

Kaka will play for Real Madrid and visit struggling Real Zaragoza on Saturday, after a month out with a thigh muscle injury.

The Brazil playmaker last featured against Olympique Lyon in the Champions League at the beginning of March. Spain defender Raul Albiol is suspended.

Real are one point behind leaders Barcelona with five games left to play. Barca are likely to rest top scorer Lionel Messi for the visit of La Liga's basement club Xerez on Saturday (1600), with their Champions League semi-final return against Inter Milan looming next Wednesday.

The Argentina international has played all but three minutes of their last seven matches over the last three weeks, and has not made much of an impression in the last couple of outings.

France left back Eric Abidal is suffering from a groin problem and is a doubt after missing training on Friday. Third-placed Valencia have Spain defender Carlos Marchena back from injury after a month out with a muscle tear, for the clash with Deportivo Coruna at Mestalla on Saturday.

Villarreal have climbed to sixth under coach Juan Carlos Garrido and a victory away to Racing Santander on Sunday could help seal his future in the dugout for next season.

"A contract extension is on track. It isn't conditional on him qualifying us for Europe," president Fernando Roig told reporters. "I like the work he has been doing...we could have news next week."

Sevilla have lost Serbia defender Ivica Dragutinovic to a torn Achilles tendon that rules him out of the trip to Getafe on Sunday, and probably the King's Cup final and the World Cup finals as well.

"No one deserves an injury like this, but him less than others, because of his commitment and for what he gives the team on and off the pitch," goalkeeper and captain Andres Palop said.

Atletico Madrid return to domestic matters with the visit of relegation-strugglers Tenerife on Sunday, after a 1-0 Europa League semi-final first-leg win over Liverpool on Thursday.

"It's important Liverpool didn't get an away goal," goalscorer Diego Forlan told reporters. "We'll feel much more comfortable at Anfield with open spaces. They'll have to go for the game."


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